Groundbreaking Fluorocarbon Chemical Conversion Technology
The groundbreaking fluorocarbon chemical conversion technology offered by Midwest Refrigerants LLC, advanced technology is the next stage of commercialization with a decision by the Executive Committee of the Multilateral Fund for the Implementation of the Montreal Protocol (MLF). The timetable for development of a business proposal could lead to construction of first-ever commercial scale unit in China in 2018. “We are delighted to have been selected by the MLF for this opportunity and look forward to advancing this technology on commercial scale in the coming year,” said Lew Steinberg, President of Midwest Refrigerants.
According to the decision of the MLF Executive Committee, the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) will prepare a project business proposal to be submitted by March 26, 2018, for review, consideration, and approval for funding at its next meeting in June 2018. The amount of US$2.8 million will be requested from MLF to support the project. The project request also received strong statements of support and encouragement from the United States government representatives at the MLF Executive Committee.
The Multilateral Fund of the Montreal Protocol provides technology transition assistance to developing country governments and private sector entities. Based on the decision of the MLF Executive Committee at its 80th meeting held in November 13-17, 2017, the UNDP will develop a project proposal with participation of Midwest Refrigerants and LUXI Chemical, in Liaocheng City, China, for the conversion of HFC-23, a byproduct of the R-22 manufacturing process that is also a potent greenhouse gas. R-22 is used as a refrigerant that is being phased out under the Montreal Protocol and is also used as a feedstock for polymer manufacturing.
The Midwest conversion technology, which was operated in a pilot facility for more than 24 months, has been shown to convert fluorocarbon compounds to their original components suitable for re-use in the manufacturing process, while leaving no waste stream. At commercial scale, this technology is expected to be considerably less expensive and more sustainable than current destruction technology.
According to the information presented to the MLF by UNDP, the Midwest technology can convert HFC-23 to highly pure anhydrous HF, and carbon monoxide or carbon dioxide, for re-use on other manufacturing processes. HFC 23 has a global warming potential of 14,800. Under the terms of the Kigali amendment to the Montreal Protocol, which is slated to enter into effect in January 2019, all HFC-23 producers around the globe will be required to capture and destroy the compound, thereby eliminating its emission during the R-22 manufacturing process. The only currently commercialized method for controlling this emission is by capture and destruction by incineration or thermal oxidation.
In addition to converting HFC-23, the Midwest technology is also capable of converting almost 400 other ODS and GHG refrigerant compounds and other fluorinated and chlorinated waste and end-of-life streams. It is a destruction/conversion technology approved by Montreal Protocol Technology and Economic Assessment Panel and is patented in the U.S., China, and twelve other countries that produce refrigerants.
Midwest also plans to have a conversion facility operating in the U.S. as early as the end of 2018 converting unwanted, end-of-life refrigerant stockpiles, including those qualifying for carbon credits.